Gardening indoors – because you can

Grow stuff in your house!

Archive for the tag “planting”

The reasons I prefer to grow plants indoors – and a few updates.

Current projects.. Seeds and whatnot

Current projects.. Seeds and whatnot

There are a few valid reasons that I have personally that make indoor gardening a preference of mine. Three of the biggest reasons involve my overall health. For some odd reason, I can’t shake the feeling that I’m going to live an unbearably long time, so I feel that my time spent here should be as comfortable as possible. We all need to understand that the health benefits offered by houseplants are AWESOME to begin with, but aside from that huge fact, my reasoning behind my preference to grow indoor includes, and is definitely not limited to:

  1. I’m susceptible to heat stroke – it’s happened to me twice before.
  2. I have shitty allergies, and it’s not fair.
  3. The outdoors are beautiful and full of fresh oxygen already. My abode needs assistance in that area. If you didn’t already know, plants transform carbon dioxide (that we as humans/animals give them when exhaling) into oxygen (which we in turn, breathe right the hell back in). I need that oxygen.
  4. Kiss my ass. I already told you there were three reasons. Keep up.
I do love to grow things, though!

I do love to grow things, though!

With those reasons aside, there’s also the fact that I don’t have an outdoor gardening area accessible to me other than community projects in the city that I live in that were awesome at one time, but is currently being invaded by hipsters. I really hate hipsters… Their smug faces, vegan diet, tiny feet and hay bedding… no. Wait – hamsters. I really hate hamsters. I’m really just kidding. I don’t hate anybody – I hate everybody. Really. Due to this slight lack of resource (which really isn’t a lack of resource at all) I lean way towards indoor more than I do outdoor. I’m also in love with the fact that I have an outstanding amount of control over what happens with my green buddies. The company of plants also tends to be a lot more pleasant than the company of most people… I try not to be completely antisocial though.

It doesn't look to good for my buddy here. We'll see.

It doesn’t look too good for my buddy here. We’ll see.

Speaking of control, Here’s a little update on what’s going on with my pineapple tops mentioned in my first post… The one that I started first (the day before I started this blog) that I showed you in pictures doesn’t look like it’s going to do so well from what I’m seeing here. All of the leaves have completely dried out, and it’s showing me nothing as far as hope goes. The leaves are supposed to dry out, true – but it seems to be a lot too early for that. I’ll give it three more days at most to see if anything changes. The pineapple that it came from had been sitting in the walk-in at my job for at least five days – I got it the day before a produce order came in. The ones that I started the very next day  are from that produce order, and they’re doing good so far – hopefully they won’t look like this one in five to seven days. We’ll see!

Started the same day, the only obvious difference is color changes.

Started the same day, the only obvious difference is color changes.

The avocado seeds that I started the other day seem to be doing well. The only thing that I have noticed so far is the one that i covered remains a constant light brown all the way around, and the other one is starting to develop a ring around the area that I stuck the toothpicks in, and is getting lighter in the area exposed to air.

Lots of color change.

Lots of color change.

If you look at the picture to the left, you’ll see an avocado seed that I started five to six weeks ago. I kept this one in my north facing window for the first four weeks, which I’m recently learning wasn’t really the best of ideas. I’ve since kept it on my kitchen counter or range top, and it’s been progressing rapidly! The color change is a lot more evident when you look at this avocado seed. it has a ring in the area where the toothpicks went in (as usual) and another toward the very top that is a lot darker than the other two color layers. I’m going to pay close attention to this to see if it happens with my newer uncovered avocado seed. The first root sprouted from the bottom of this one a few days ago, and seems to be growing at a rate of about 1/4 of an inch daily. There will be more roots to come, of course, and the entire seed will eventually split apart almost completely around the time the stalk of the plant pops out of the top… I wonder how long that will take.

So that’s it for this post – once again, it’s getting late and I need to turn in for the night. I’ll post something else tomorrow… most likely a new pineapple plant, but this time since I have extra potting mix, I’m going to start it off in soil – this should still work as a good comparison to the others, seeing as how I just started those within the last few days. Be sure to leave feedback, and follow me if you wish to stay updated. So yeah. Tomorrow. Until then…

pe♫ce.

An experiment in propagating avocado seeds – Part II

These avocados are of the Haas variety. They were purchased at the local Co-op.

These avocados are of the Haas variety. They were purchased at the local Co-op.

We left off on my last post with the completion of our homemade greenhouse. In this post, as promised, we’re actually going to go ahead and get these two avacado seeds started! Now for the sake of being completely honest, I’ve actually gone ahead and started the first one, which is the one that will stay uncovered… Hello – it’s the one you see here in the picture! We’re going to completely go over rooting the other avocado seed right now step-by-step using the experimentation method mentioned in part I of this post.

Haas variety avacado. Pretty tasty!

Haas variety avacado. Pretty tasty!

So the first thing that I did was to grab my homemade setup crafted from a soda bottle, then my avocado. The avocado being used here is a Haas variety, and I purchased it, and the other one a little earlier today from the local food Co-op. They only cost me $0.79 each!

Be careful at this stage!

Be careful at this stage!

Once I got my avacado in position, I grabbed a huge knife and threatened the hell out of it. I told it that if it didn’t yield me a beautiful plant, I would kill all of his cousins come spring… I don’t think it was paying much attention, though. I used the knife to cut the avocado vertically, lightly pressing until I could feel the seed against the blade of the knife. You want to make sure that while this is being done, you don’t damage the seed inside of the avocado. Once you feel the seed under the knife blade, go ahead and rock it all the way around lightly.

Twist... Simple

Twist… Simple

Once you make a vertical cut around the outer edge of the seed, go ahead and twist the two parts of the avocado apart. On a ripe avocado, they should come apart fairly easily. I tried this about two months ago with a really tough-fleshed avocado, and the seed was a true pain in the ass to remove… That seed actually sprouted it’s first root about two days ago in water – finally.

Fleshy seed.

Fleshy seed.

After I got the two halves separated, I was able to easily remove the seed from the half it was stuck in using only my thumb. When first removed, the seed tends to have a lot of the avocado flesh still on it, and you definitely want to get rid of it, being careful not to damage or remove the outer layer of skin on the seed – it’s brown, and it takes a lot of rubbing to get it off, so once again, no worries.

Clean avocado seed. Ready for the world!

Clean avocado seed. Ready for the world!

I removed the avocado flesh by running cool water over the seed and rubbing lightly – it comes off pretty easily. I made sure not to damage or remove the outer skin of the seed, which is light brown… You won’t have much success if you damage that outer skin, so be careful! I’m not sure what others do at this exact moment, but I let my seed dry out for a few minutes – it seems like it’s been through a lot, and I need to dry my hands and take some pictures anyway.

Three toothpicks will do the job.

Three toothpicks will do the job.

Now for the toothpicks. I make sure to keep the toothpicks that I’m using for this clean, as to not encourage the invasion of parasites. I try to be as clean as possible when dealing with anything that has to do with plants… It’s just a good idea. If you didn’t already know, I’ll inform you now – the roots will grow out of the bottom of the seed, which is the broad side – the flatter part of the seed. The plant itself will begin to stem from the top, or the pointy side of the seed, therefore you want to put the bottom of the seed in water, leaving the top of the avocado seed exposed to air.

Fill it just enough to cover the bottom half of the seed!

Fill it just enough to cover the bottom half of the seed!

Once you have the toothpicks in place in the seed, all that’s left to do is prop it up over the soda bottle greenhouse that we made earlier, fill it with water (enough to cover the bottom half of the seed), and cover it up with the top of the soda bottle. When you’re all done, your new project should look something like what I have pictured below.

Both avocado seeds... We'll see which grows better soon!

Both avocado seeds… We’ll see which grows better soon!

I’m going to keep these out of direct light. An ideal location for me would be in the kitchen, so that’s where they’ll be for now. As mentioned before, all feedback and comments are appreciated, and will keep me going as far as this blog is concerned. Subscribe if you’re benefiting in any way, and be sure to stay tuned – my next blog will be about propagating mango plants from seeds!

Propagation – and why it’s so important

Pineapples in the rooting stage

I’m propagating these pineapple tops in water. The water that is being used has been left out overnight before use in order to let the chlorine evaporate, as I feel it’s the right thing to do seeing as how I can smell the water as it comes out of my faucet… a lot of plants don’t like chlorine, so by default I do this for all of my beauties. Whether or not you decide to do this is your choice.

HOW TO PROPAGATE PINEAPPLES IN WATER

For my first post, I’d like to talk about propagation – specifically the propagation of pineapple plants. For those of you who don’t already know, propagation is basically the rooting – or the preparation of a plant for further growth.

To get it out of the way, I’ll let you know from the start, and it’s a fact that should be assumed when I mention it in any future post – proper propagation is necessary for the successful growth and development of your plants! When you take the time and care to do this, you’re not only almost ensuring that your time isn’t wasted, but you’re also helping a future friend strive and reach it’s fullest potential – assuming that you also decide to take proper care of your friend along the way.

The steps I took in getting these pineapple tops (shown above) ready for growing were really simple, and can be done by almost anyone within minutes. The first thing I did was twist the top off of a fresh pineapple that was really attractive, with nice green leaves, and a really prickly center (if you stick your finger into the direct middle of the leaf system, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about). Don’t be discouraged if the leaves aren’t as green as you’d like, seeing as how the leaves are going to be shooting off to the side and browning anyway when all of the new growth starts happening. The top will twist off of a pineapple fairly easily, with very little effort, and won’t shock the plant too much, so don’t be too apprehensive about twisting it off. It’s cool. No worries. The next step is the fun part – pulling off the bottom leaves – you just sent the plant into shock by twisting off the top, so you’ll actually benefit your pineapple by doing this. What you want to do at this point is take off the first few layers of leaves – the ones at the bottom will be kind of fleshy, and not as easy as the rest to remove, but don’t let that stop your developing green thumb… remember – that thing is opposable! The main goal here is getting the root system of your pineapple exposed – you’ll start to see it as you pull those outer leaves off, and once it’s exposed, it’s safe to peel off a few more layers. At this point, you’ve got a pineapple top with the root system exposed, and just the few top layers of leaves left. What you’ll want to do is to prop your pineapple top into some water – just enough water to cover the root system, as this is where the roots will be growing (of course). Once you have the top sitting in water, be sure to change the water at least once every two days to discourage rotting (I change my water every morning). If you allow your pineapple top to rot at the bottom because of unchanged water, you’re off to a bad start and it’s likely that you will have very little success. From what I’m to understand, you’ll have rooting results sufficient for planting in a growing medium within a month or two.

Keep in mind, people – I don’t claim to know everything, or even a whole lot about anything in relation to houseplants, horticulture, or gardening in general… as a matter of fact, as far as you’re concerned, I don’t know shit. I’m just a dude in tune with the earth and I happen to love green plants. I’m not into flowers. At all. Fuck them – they make my nose mad… With that said, I like leaves. Bitch.

Moving on…

The pineapple crowns that I’m using came from pineapples that originate from Costa Rica, grown organically. I get these pineapples from my workplace here in Southeastern Connecticut, and it also happens to be the first week of December, which means that as far as the United States go, I stand less of a chance than any for success with this project. In a week or so, I’m going to try a different propagation method that involves letting the tops dry out for a few days, and then planting directly into soil. I’ve been doing a lot of research over the last week on the subject of pineapple propagation, and I gather that there are a few ways to go about it, so I’m going to eventually try them all.

Naysayers tell me that I shouldn’t even bother with this type of projet at this time of year.

I say “fuck ’em”…

IMAG0496

The one on the far left is the very first one that I started, which was only two days ago. The two in the middle were started yesterday, and the one at the very end was started only a few hours ago. The first one (far left) isn’t as green as the others, and that’s because it was the last of two left from a previous shipment of produce, and had been sitting in the walk-in for a little while… I really don’t expect it to do as well as the others, but only time will tell.

In my next post, I’ll be talking about avocado plants and getting them started. I’m just learning how to use this blogging site, so please be patient with me – I’m pretty sure I can get this blog a little more visually attractive soon.

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